“I think young people should work for conservation because they will be living in the place they build for themselves,” said Beckett McGrath, a ten year-old student who has united his classmates and local community to support Rainforest Trust’s work.
Beckett attends the Treehouse Learning Community in Georgetown, Texas– a part-time school for homeschooled students, led by his mom, Traci McGrath. He, along with his friends and peers, channelled their shared passion for the environment to organize their own club: “Protection of Earth” or “P.O.E.” They meet during their free time after school and research endangered species, make posters to spread awareness and brainstorm ways to support conservation.
Beckett and P.O.E. first connected with Rainforest Trust when they were organizing a “Run for the Rainforest” in the Spring of 2019. Traci and Beckett researched many organizations, but ultimately decided to fundraise for Rainforest Trust. “We loved the thought of conserving rainforest, not only for its own right, but because its existence helps every other creature and habitat on Earth,” said Traci. “I noticed your high ratings on Charity Navigator, and loved the way your team welcomed Beckett’s questions and involvement. Your team cares very much and it shows!”
Most recently, P.O.E. created handmade lanterns for their school’s Lantern Walk. “The annual Lantern Walk takes place in November, we take a walk through the forest, under the stars, carrying our lanterns,” said Traci. “When it came time for the walk this year, Beckett and his friends from P.O.E. realized they could make and sell some extra handmade lanterns and donate the proceeds to Rainforest Trust’s conservation work.”
The students’ deep-rooted appreciation for the natural world was passed down to them by their parents. “The families in our learning community all seem to have a deep respect for nature and a commitment to making time for their young kids to spend outdoors,” said Traci. “I believe the passion for conservation we are seeing emerge in our kids is the result of years spent as toddlers and younger kids, wading in streams and rivers, hiking and climbing trees. They fell in love with the natural world and now they will do anything to protect it.”
Traci believes it is of the utmost importance to make sure children are empowered to make a change on their own. “I felt the early years were a time to fall in love with nature,” said Traci. “Now that they are more aware, reading and hearing about issues like climate change, it is important to give them tangible ways to help and make a difference.”
Beckett and P.O.E. are currently developing a second “Run for the Rainforest” and show no signs of slowing down. He knows that preserving the environment today will eventually shape the future.
You have the power to make a lasting difference and protect the rainforest too. If you are a teacher, school staff member or parent who is interested in supporting Rainforest Trust, learn more about our Rainforest Ambassadors Program. Any student or class can participate, and have access to fundraising ideas. By supporting Rainforest Trust, your donation goes directly to our projects around the world — saving land, protecting species, empowering communities and securing a future for the entire planet.